Special Reports

3 Ways to Maintain Customer Interest in Grocery Offerings With New Recipes, Products and More

Photograph: Shutterstock

When restaurant dining rooms closed earlier this year, consumers turned to takeout and delivery to fill the gap. But they also turned to grocery stores more, too—The Kroger Co., for instance, reported a 30% surge in same-store sales during March. Consumers, including many novice home cooks, who found themselves cooking more at home, shopped and had groceries delivered at unprecedented rates. As the economy reopens, grocery retailers have a challenge ahead of them: How can they keep customers—including those novice home cooks—interested in cooking at home and shopping at grocery stores?

There are three big ways that retailers can help keep shoppers interested.

1) Offer recipe inspiration and cooking demos where possible

As restaurant dining rooms across the country open back up, there will still be many consumers who feel safer dining at home for a longer period of time. These same shoppers might be growing tired of their tried-and-true meals, however. Retailers can keep them on their toes by offering recipe inspiration in the form of an email newsletter, social media blasts, recipe cards given away on-site (at the deli, in the produce area, etc.) or even in the form of cooking demonstrations, if applicable. Showcasing new dishes featuring delicious ingredients, such as a Watermelon Feta Salad with Mint or a Savory Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese, ensures shoppers have something to look forward to when they go to the grocery store—and something they can try cooking at home.

2) Highlight new and innovative products

IRI data showed that sales in the dairy department for the week of March 15, 2020 were up 60% compared to the same week in 2019, and that trend continued for several weeks, with dairy sales for the week of May 17, 2020 up 23% from the same week in 2019.

The reason for these sharp increases in sales could be that shoppers were stocking up on essentials like milk. But it could also be because many comfort foods that consumers have been eating more of often include cheese.

One way stores can work to keep these numbers up is by offering innovative and exciting cheese products.

Keep shoppers interested in cheese and other comfort foods by highlighting new and delicious options, such as hand-rubbed fontina cheeses from Cello, available in six delicious flavors: Creamy Dill, Dijon & Herb, Smoky Pepper, Bergamot & Hibiscus, Pumpkin Spice and Mayan Cocoa Coffee. Excellent for a cheese and charcuterie board, topping pasta and other dishes and so much more, these new cheese products are the perfect fix for a dinner menu that needs refreshing. 

3) Showcase more plant-based options

Consumers of all stripes—whether they’re newly vegan, following a vegetarian diet or simply interested in a flexitarian lifestyle—are increasingly looking for more plant-based options to complement their diets. For these shoppers, plant-based cheese products mean they can enjoy their favorite dishes without sacrificing delicious cheeses. Vegan cheeses, made with no dairy at all, offer the richness and great flavor consumers want from cheese. Retailers should be sure to showcase these cheeses in their dairy or specialty product cases, highlighting that they are dairy-free to attract shoppers who want a plant-based cheese. Vevan P’Jack Melts slices and Vevan P’Jack-Shred shredded cheese, for instance, are bursting with authentic flavor and melt perfectly, making it easier than ever to eat plant-based, whether someone is new to veganism or just wants to try something new.

For retailers that want to make sure consumers keep coming back even as restaurant dining rooms open back up, offering recipe inspiration, highlighting new products and showcasing plant-based options are three great ways to hold consumers’ interest. Find out more at www.schumancheese.com/retail.

This post is sponsored by Schuman Cheese